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MPG

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Automotive Editor -

When it first appeared in 2014, the Jeep Cherokee's look sharply divided the brand's faithful. What that polarizing look has done since, however, is help the Cherokee sell like hotcakes, along with the model’s authentic ruggedness and the freedom of its a la carte option lineup.

What's New for 2018

Jeep has revamped the Cherokee’s trim levels – killing the bottom-shelf Sport to leave the Latitude as the new base while fortifying its list of standard features with HID headlights, 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, and a backup camera. A brand new Latitude Plus debuts, outfitted with an 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment system, satellite radio, and more.

Also new is the $2,295 Tech Connect Package. Created in partnership with Amazon and available on the Latitude trim, it includes the 8.4-inch Uconnect 3C system, an Amazon Echo Dot device, a three-month subscription to the Amazon Music Unlimited Family Plan and a three-month membership to Audible. The package allows Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant to interface with the Cherokee so that owners can remotely start and stop the engine, lock/unlock the doors, and more via Alexa voice commands.

Choosing Your Jeep Cherokee

Deciding on which 2018 Jeep Cherokee is the right fit is as simple – or difficult – as figuring out what one will require of it. Starting from the basic commuter-duty Latitude with front-wheel drive ($24,990 including $1,095 destination), the Cherokee can be outfitted as a high-content luxury cruiser, a rugged rock-crawler, and everything in between.

A 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 184 horsepower and 171 pound-feet of torque is standard on nearly every Cherokee. A 3.2-liter V6 with 271 hp and 239 lb-ft of torque and standard stop/start technology is a $1,745 option across the board, except on the range-topping, four-wheel-drive-equipped Overland. Aside from the off-road-ready Trailhawk, front-wheel drive is standard while one of Jeep's many four-wheel-drive systems is a $1,500 optional extra. A nine-speed automatic is the only available transmission.

Front-drive four-cylinder Cherokee models return an EPA-estimated 21 miles per gallon city, 30 highway, and 25 combined, while a front-drive V6 only loses one mpg on the highway and combined ratings. Grabbing a four-wheel-drive Latitude with the four-cylinder drops the EPA estimate to 21 city, 28 highway, and 23 combined, while the base V6/four-wheel-drive combo loses one mpg in the city.

Because it uses a different four-wheel-drive system – Jeep's so-called Active Drive II – the Latitude Plus, Limited, and Overland share distinct fuel economy estimates. Four-cylinder models return 21 mpg city, 27 highway, and 23 combined, while adding the V6 to any of these models drops the EPA estimates to 18 city, 26 highway, and 21 combined.

Bringing up the rear is the off-road-ready Cherokee Trailhawk – in four-cylinder form, it nets just 19 city, 25 highway, and 22 combined, although ultimate inefficiency is still the realm of the V6 model, which returns just 18 mpg city, 24 highway, and 21 combined.

The 2018 Jeep Cherokee is available in five trims.

Latitude

Starting at $24,990, the Cherokee Latitude features a standard Uconnect 3 infotainment system with a five-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth streaming audio and voice command, a rearview camera, a 3.5-inch instrument cluster display, 17-inch wheels, roof rails, cloth upholstery, manual seats, power body-colored exterior mirrors, keyless entry, HID headlamps, and an electronic safety suite that includes roll mitigation, hill start assist, and trailer-sway control.

There are three available packages on the Latitude, including the aforementioned $2,295 Tech Connect Package. The $995 Altitude Package (18-inch wheels, exterior accents, badging, and roof rails, all in black) is purely focused on style, while the $985 Cold Weather Group (air conditioning, engine block heater, all-season floor mats, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel with audio controls, power heated exterior mirrors, and remote start system) should appeal to owners in colder climes. SiruisXM satellite radio ($295, including one year of service) and a compact spare tire ($215) are available individually.

Latitude Plus

Priced at $26,190, adding “Plus” to the Latitude name adds leather and cloth upholstery, a leather-trimmed steering wheel with audio controls, an eight-way power driver’s seat with four-way power lumbar adjustment, a flat-folding front passenger seat, proximity entry and push-button start, and more stylish 17-inch wheels.

The Latitude Plus opens up orders for the $1,755 panoramic sunroof, while $695 scores a nine-speaker Alpine audio system. You'll also gain access to three additional options packages with the Cherokee's new volume trim.

The $1,445 Comfort/Convenience Group (automatic dual-zone climate controls, remote start, security alarm, auto-dimming rearview mirror, universal garage door opener, and power liftgate) does what it says on the lid. Safety conscious consumers will want the $1,095 SafetyTec Group (blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and rear park assist) while anyone that plans on towing should grab the $795 Trailer Tow Group (Class III receiver hitch, trailer tow 7- and 4-pin wiring harness, heavy duty engine cooling, auxiliary transmission oil cooler, 3.517 final drive ratio, and a full-size spare tire). The Cold Weather Group is unchanged from the base Latitude.

Limited

As is usually the case, “Limited” means “luxury.” And in the case of the $30,890 Cherokee Limited, its $3,500 premium adds full-leather upholstery with heating for the seats and steering wheel, 18-inch aluminum wheels, and the Latitude Plus' Comfort/Convenience and SafetyTec groups as standard.

Prices remains the same for the Trailer Tow Group, the Alpine audio upgrade and panoramic sunroof. The Altitude Package is now the High Altitude Package, for now apparent reason, and while its name is different the content and price are the same.

The Technology Group ($1,645) adds a suite of electronic safety systems, including adaptive cruise control with stop and go, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and parallel and perpendicular park assist, automatic high beams, rain-sensing wipers, while the Luxury Group ($1,345) upgrades the leather upholstery, and adds ventilation to the front seats, a rear tonneau cover, and memory for the driver’s seat, radio, and exterior mirrors,. The Luxury Package also introduces a navigation function, HD radio, Uconnect Access with one year of service, and every SiriusXM service under the sun (with varying lengths of complimentary subscriptions) to the 8.4-inch display.

Trailhawk

There is nothing subtle about the $32,090 Cherokee Trailhawk, with its bright red Trail Rated emblems and Trailhawk-exclusive matte black hood decal and off-road fascia, featuring red tow hooks. That front fascia is functional, though, increasing the approach angle of this most potent Cherokee. A standard Active Drive Lock four-wheel-drive system with a dedicated Rock drive mode, heavy-duty off-road suspension with one-inch greater ground clearance, underbody skid plates, and chunky 17-inch polished and painted off-road aluminum wheels with all-terrain tires round out the functional improvements.

As far as interior trimmings go, however, think of the Trailhawk as a $4,700 upgrade to the Latitude Plus rather than an extra $1,200 on the Limited. Gone, for instance, is the leather upholstery, in favor of a Latitude Plus-style – but Trailhawk-branded – bucket seats with Rivet Cloth inserts, Nappa leather-trimmed bolsters, and Ruby Red accent stitching. The automatic dual-zone HVAC element of the Comfort/Convenience Group is standard, with the balance available for $1,145. Also standard is the SafetyTec Group, with the Trailer Tow and Cold Weather groups, Uconnect navigation system, and the glass roof on hand as extra-cost options.

Overland

The $35,190 Overland picks up where the Limited left off, eschewing any of the Trailhawk’s grittier elements in favor of luxury everything. If the Limited could have it, the Overland likely either has it or has an even better version, like having Berber floor mats instead of, well, not that. And in addition to all the luxury, comfort and convenience items Jeep could stuff into it, the company set the Cherokee Overland apart externally as well with body-color fascias and cladding, and unique multi-spoke 18-inch polished aluminum wheels.

The Overland does have one thing in common with the Trailhawk: the forced option. If one wants to add four-wheel drive to an Overland, they have to live with the V6 engine – in total, look for a $3,245 premium.

A Heavy Duty Protection Group adds a little Trailhawk to the Overland package (along with $1,500 to its price tag) with a collection of skid plates that gird the four-wheel-drive Overland’s underside, transmission, fuel tank, and front suspension from rocks, while also adding a full-size spare tire. The Technology Group, engine block heater, and panoramic sunroof also remain optional even on an Overland, meaning that if one chose to tick all the boxes on this ultimate Cherokee they would be looking at an MSRP of $43,695. That's a full $18,705 more than the sub-$25k base model it’s based on.

CarsDirect Tip

If you like the Cherokee but can’t stand its unorthodox looks, fear not: the 2019 model – among other things – has been spied wearing a new front fascia with more conventional style. But if you think the 2018 is the bee’s knees – you don’t need the full-on off-road Trailhawk – the new Latitude Plus trim level is the sweet spot for affordability and available options.

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